For someone perusing cross-country results online, Brody Bushnell’s time and place at Friday’s Olalla Valley Golf Course Meet might be wondering what’s going on with the Philomath High junior. His time of 19:08 represented his slowest 5K ever as a high school runner.
Did he finish the race despite some sort of injury? Did he get tragically lost on the course running by himself away from the others? Perhaps he slipped off a bridge and landed in a creek below.
No, it was none of the above. Bushnell was running with his brother, freshman Warwick Bushnell.
PHS coach Joe Fulton said he asked Bushnell to “hang back and pace his younger brother … in hopes of getting Warwick under 19 minutes. They came close.”
The Bushnell brothers came in fifth and sixth place just 8 seconds over the goal at hand.
Meanwhile, another freshman, Adele Beckstead, has been turning heads all season with her talents on a cross-country course. Beckstead won the girls’ race with a time of 20:09, her sixth straight victory.
Philomath’s girls dominated with 12 of the top 14 runners all wearing Warrior colors. Besides Beckstead’s first-place showing, others contributing to the team score included Ingrid Hellesto in third (20:53), Kaeleigh Houchin in fourth (21:06), Hanna McDaniel in sixth (21:27) and Kateri Pindell in seventh (21:27).
Kyah Weeber in eighth (21:29), Brooke McDaniel in ninth (21:41) and Hallie Morrison in 10th (21:52) rounded out the top 10. Just outside of that group was Audrey Gerding (11th, 22:21), Phoebe Coen (12th, 22:27), Alexa Eckhold (13th, 22:37) and Janice Hellesto (14th, 23:30).
Hanna McDaniel, Weeber, Brooke McDaniel and Morrison all had significant personal-best times.
“We now have nine runners under 22 minutes for 5K,” Fulton said. “That is amazing and as far as I can recall, a first for PHS girls.”
The boys ran shorthanded with several top runners not competing.
“In fact, we were missing six of our top 10 runners … who were resting up after playing a game on Thursday and preparing for another one today (Saturday),” Fulton said.
Behind the Bushnell brothers, JJ Lewis placed ninth in 19:51 and Gradin Fairbanks was 12th in 20:08. Emmitt Gaskey contributed to the team score as well with 21st in 21:07.
Warwick Bushnell, Fairbanks, Gaskey, Aidan Bruce, Tyler Moade, Maxwell Carter and Seth Wood all had PR performances “as our JV boys valiantly attempted to fill in for the missing varsity team,” Fulton said.
In the team scoring, Philomath’s girls won with 21 points to Newport’s 44 and Taft’s 68. For the boys, Newport won with 21, followed by Philomath’s 53, Taft’s 61 and Waldport’s 101.
Off the course, the PHS cross-country teams both rank No. 1 for academic excellence, as it was learned earlier in the week. The boys had a perfect 4.0 grade point average and the girls were near-perfect at 3.99.
“The goal of any high school sport should be to help develop well-rounded individuals,” Fulton said. “That certainly seems to be the case with the 2021 PHS cross-country teams.”
The cross-country program had to work through a series of challenges in connection with the meet. First, the school bus sustained a shattered windshield on the way to the meet from a rock thrown up by a passing truck. An assistant coach had shards of glass in her lap and seat but escaped injury and a small piece of glass hit a student but did not cut her. The head coach’s seat had several small shards.
Upon arrival, there were issues with the restrooms and the meet overall ended up in disarray with the absence of the hosting school’s head coach. Another coach took over and instead of the separate boys and girls junior varsity and varsity races, it was decided to just combine them all into one race after the situation with the restrooms had caused a delay.
Said Fulton, “So, 74 boys and girls, varsity and JV, finally toed the line at around 10:50.”
The situation created a level of confusion when figuring the final results.
“Philomath parents and coaches helped at the finish line, which was done the old-school way with sticky tags removed and placed on a sheet,” Fulton said. “We had separate sheets for boys and girls so we got the correct order of finish for both genders. The trouble was that there was only one clock recording times so we could not easily match them up once girls started mixing in with the boys’ results, which was quick thanks to Adele’s 13th overall finish.”
As a result, the results could not be sorted in a timely manner. PHS assistant coach Diana Bushnell “took the sheets and times home and painstakingly reconstructed the results,” Fulton said.
Philomath now prepares for the Oregon West Conference Championships on Thursday at Lane Community College in Eugene. The varsity girls are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. with the varsity boys to follow at 3:45 p.m. There will also be a combined JV race at 2:15 p.m.
The top two teams will advance to the 4A state championships, also to be held at Lane Community College, on Nov. 6.
Olalla Valley Golf Course XC Meet
Friday, Oct. 22, at Olalla Valley Golf Course, Toledo
Team Scoring 1, Newport 21; 2, Philomath 53; 3, Taft 61; 4, Waldport 101. Top 10 Individuals 1. Sam Laurel, Newport, 17:13 2. James Lackey, Newport, 17:22 3. Finn Collson, Newport, 18:19 4. Noah Larsen, Newport, 18:22 5. Warwick Bushnell, Philomath, 19:08 6. Brody Bushnell, Philomath, 19:08 7. Kaden Hindman, Taft, 19:11 8. Christian Olivas, Toledo, 19:49 9. JJ Lewis, Philomath, 19:51 10. Enrique Islas, Taft, 19:56 PHS Results 5. Warwick Bushnell, 19:08 6. Brody Bushnell, 19:08 9. JJ Lewis, 19:51 12. Gradin Fairbanks, 20:08 21. Emmitt Gaskey, 21:07 23. Aidan Bruce, 22:01 31. Tyler Moade, 23:25 32. Maxwell Carter, 23:33 33. Andrew Leonard, 23:52 35. Seth Wood, 25:13 Note: The varsity and JV boys’ races were combined and featured 40 runners.
Team Scoring 1, Philomath 21; 2, Newport 44; 3, Taft 68. Top 10 Individuals 1. Adele Beckstead, Philomath, 20:09 2. Aliya Larsen, Newport, 20:14 3. Ingrid Hellesto, Philomath, 20:53 4. Kaeleigh Houchin, Philomath, 21:06 5. Makaia Kessinger, Taft, 21:21 6. Hanna McDaniel, Philomath, 21:27 7. Kateri Pindell, Philomath, 21:27 8. Kyah Weeber, Philomath, 21:29 9. Brooke McDaniel, Philomath, 21:41 10. Hallie Morrison, Philomath, 21:52 PHS Results 1. Adele Beckstead, 20:09 3. Ingrid Hellesto, 20:53 4. Kaeleigh Houchin, 21:06 6. Hanna McDaniel, 21:27 7. Kateri Pindell, 21:27 8. Kyah Weeber, 21:29 9. Brooke McDaniel, 21:41 10. Hallie Morrison, 21:52 11. Audrey Gerding, 22:21 12. Phoebe Coen, 22:27 13. Alexa Eckhold, 22:37 14. Janice Hellesto, 23:30 17. Danielle Harris, 23:56 20. Averie Wilson, 24:17 24. Allison Neelands, 25:54 25. Emery Boutilier, 25:57 29. Ariana Boutilier, 26:40 32. Ally Todd, 26:46 Note: The varsity and JV girls’ races were combined and featured 34 runners.